IVP - Behind the Books - Who Is an Artist?

April 18, 2007

Who Is an Artist?

I am reading what the author (Jo Kadlecek) will want you to know is a still-in-progress draft of her yet-untitled book on discovering passion in life. It's the kind of book that causes you to read and ponder. Or daydream. The kind of reading I save to perk up a grim Chicago winter day. I found her reflections on what it means to be an artist, and who qualifies as an artist, particularly interesting.

I began to question the creative process, what to do with it, how to harness it, why we had it at all. Did it extend beyond a painter’s canvas? Was it more than a chiseled piece of marble with life-like veins? Or was it exclusive and protected by and for a chosen few who could either afford it or comprehend it? . . . Some people told me artist-types were indeed a strange breed who lived on the fringe of acceptability, that they served no useful purpose and lived far from where the rest of us normal folks lived and moved and had our beings. Others called artists nothing short of prophets—in the same league as Isaiah or Paul—a gifted lot who could speak truth at the same time they critiqued the culture and its people with the mere stroke of a brush. It was as if these two had no room for the other. So one morning in New York, I suppose when I saw a child drawing or reading a poem, I peeked at my fear, and the pull in my soul said there was something more. Had to be more. Something I’d experienced even without words, something I needed if I was going to stay awake through this earthly existence. Something I needed in order to breathe and bleed and feel—even if my attempts at understanding or creating were raw and primitive. Even if I had millions of dollars or only one in my bank account, if I lived in a western world or a developing one. This seemed to be my DNA, to be everyone’s, in fact. Creative because we were first created.
Posted by Cindy Bunch at April 18, 2007 7:08 AM Bookmark and Share


"Creative because we were first created." Came over here from L.L. today. What a beautiful thought.

My kids (2 and 6) both dance and sing and draw and create to the limit of their abilities. Most of the adults I work with in writing workshops... don't.

So how do we lose that sense of creative play? How can I help my kids not lose that desire to create?

Comment by: Mark Goodyear at April 18, 2007 4:34 PM

Hey there! So glad to have you in the blogosphere... where creativity is fun, unsolicited, and free. (Editing is optional.)

Comment by: L.L. Barkat at April 19, 2007 12:33 PM

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